• President Kenyatta appears keen on upping Kanu chairman's stakes in the political circles.
• Raila allies maintain all is well in the handshake camp as focus on 2022 goes beyond who gets what post.
Kanu's teaming up with Jubilee has sparked speculation that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be preparing Baringo Senator Gideon Moi for a bigger stake in the 2022 succession race.
Gideon added crucial numbers to President Kenyatta’s side of the Jubilee divide to enable the party sack Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkoman as Majority Leader and Nakuru's Susan Kihika as Whip.
The changes elevated Gideon’s man Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot senator) to the House leadership seat.
Some quarters hold the elevation of Kanu to the Majority leadership signals the beginning of the journey to hand over power to Gideon.
Others believe the President could be paying back what his mentor, the late President Daniel Moi, did in Uhuru's political journey.
Moi brought Uhuru to the political limelight in 2001 by nominating him to Parliament and subsequently appointing him to the Cabinet as the Local Government minister.
The President has over time been very supportive of Gideon, and by extension, the greater Moi family, having had some roots there.
A question then emerges about what would happen to ODM leader Raila Odinga's camp and Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid should Kenyatta say Gideon 'tosha’.
Political analysts say such a move would have a massive impact on the country’s political dynamics, including the possibility of bringing Raila and Ruto to work together.
Although the AU Infrastructure envoy is a key player in the negotiations for a Government of National Unity, some quarters suggest he should not rest easy in Uhuru’s camp, especially with the entry of Moi in the top echelons.
Their take is that nothing stops a now emboldened President Kenyatta from shortchanging the ODM leader in favour of the son of his mentor.
They cite Ruto’s case, who they say is undergoing a baptism by fire, despite standing with the President through three highly-competitive elections.
A sign of grumbles in the handshake pact was manifested when the Minority side in Parliament slammed the government’s poor response to Covid-19, floods and other emergencies.
Raila allies, in an interview with the Star Siasa, dismissed the scenario of President Kenyatta shortchanging the ODM leader at this stage.
ODM chairman John Mbadi stated categorically that “Uhuru can't help a candidate win the presidency without Raila.
“That is the reality. The two have to work together. I don't think even Raila can say so and so tosha,” the National Assembly Minority Leader said.
I believe every political party worth its salt has a game plan for forming a government, either on its own or in coalition with others.Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi
He said there must be a structured discussion involving many players before President Kenyatta makes any move, adding that “Kenya has moved a lot in terms of politics.”
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi concurred with the Suba South MP but said it was too early to engage in such a debate.
Wandayi, who is ODM Political Affairs Secretary, told the Star Siasa that a week is a long time in politics, adding that since 2022 is eons away many things would happen before then.
Tiaty MP William Kamket, who is Gideon’s ally, said, “The story of saying Gideon 'tosha' or Raila 'tosha' is neither here nor there.”
The MP said Kanu, TNA, ODM, Wiper and other parties are working together in the succession plan.
He said the candidates for the various seats, either President or Prime Minister, will be known at the right time.
“All we need to do now is to cement our friendship. The rest will follow later. Even if President Kenyatta wants to continue after 2022, through some way, that is still okay with us,” Kamket said.
Mwala MP Vincent Musau, a Ruto ally who is keen on having Kalonzo Musyoka run with the DP in 2022, said Uhuru is only interested in numbers.
“He doesn’t look like a person with a big heart for others, looking at what he has done to Ruto. Gideon Moi has done very little for Uhuru compared with what Ruto has done."
“Once done with the numbers business, he will throw them out just as he has done with Ruto,” the MP said.
With Covid-19 throwing a lot of political activities into disarray, it is evident that the politicos are running out of time, especially Uhuru, who has less than two years left to the end of his second and final term.
Political analyst Macharia Munene said the latest event is merely incorporation of Gideon into the Raila-Uhuru handshake camp, hence “they have a threesome”.
“From where I sit, there is not much problem in the camp. The leaders appear to be happy about it,” Prof Munene, who teaches history and international relations, said.
He noted that by Poghisio taking the post which many thought would be handed to Gideon, the Baringo senator had raised the bar to be at par with Raila and Uhuru.
The USIU don further observed that much as Raila and Uhuru are close, two years is a long time to make conclusions on matters politics.
“Politicians keep changing positions and you wonder whether they are the same people. It is too early to make conclusions,” he said.
For him though, the 2022 competition still remains to be a race between Raila and Ruto.
“How they deal with who to rope in and who to kick out is the drama we are readying to watch.”
Raila had once said that Ruto would need him if the DP was to ascend to the presidency by any chance.
A possible deal with the DP was speculated after the ODM leader bumped into Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi over lunch. Sudi denied any political link.
It is unclear, though, if Raila would want to engage Ruto at a time he is negotiating bigger stakes in the GNU.
Dr Charles Nyambuga, a political commentator from Maseno University, agrees that a Raila-Ruto force would be a lethal blow to the Uhuru side.
However, he was quick to note that the duo would have a challenge of agreeing who would be on top.
“Both have big egos and feel that they have been at the pinnacle of power. Ruto feels he has made gains in terms of marshalling support which can rival that of Raila,” the don said.
Nyambuga said the problem stems from how the leaders are assessing their support bases.
He said Ruto thinks he has Western while Raila knows he has Western with the two also thinking they have Coast.
The don said Ruto could be bold because he thinks he has Central and has taken Raila’s critical bases at the Coast – Kilifi and Kwale - leaving Raila with Mombasa and Taita Taveta.
“Ruto thinks he has Bungoma under wraps and is trying to make inroads in Vihiga. The places he has not had an impact are Kakamega and Busia which he seems to have left to Raila.”
Nyambuga said it would be dicey for the two to determine who has the numbers, adding that Ruto and Raila’s verbal exchanges have worsened their chances of agreeing.
“What one would ask is, does Ruto have a choice? He is in a tight corner. Without the goodies he dishes, has he really sold in the areas where he has been campaigning?”
Edited by Henry Makori